SEO in Australia over the last decade – ‘The Cowboys and the Good guys’

August 9, 2012Uncategorized

Wow what a crazy ride it has been if you’ve been involved in seo in Australia or online marketing over the last decade!

It feels just like the other day when I started my first job as a rookie consultant for one of Australia’s leading search agencies around the dotcom boom at the turn of the millennium. Little did I know, just how much I would learn and the journey search engine marketing would take me on not only in my career but also the entire industry in Australia and worldwide.

I remember after completing my 2 week training how all the acronym’s under the sun were thrown at me, even the more popular one’s like robots.txt, CMS, HTML, SEM, PHP just to name a few at the time were still relatively unknown to most marketing teams we were selling to. I graduated from university with a ‘leisurely’ marketing degree but within 3 months of working in my first job it felt like I had already learnt more about search engine optimisation than what I did in four years at university.

Back then the focus was all about website design, the backend and LINKS. Over the next number of years this would form the focus of search engine optimisation in my opinion. If anyone had a half decent website which once tweaked here and there by their seo agency, links was then the main product were told to sell to companies to get them ranking and sometimes rank really quickly. It felt like the wild west with some agencies and one man bands (I wont name names) performing some really questionable tactics just so that they could show their new client some quick wins. Search Agencies in Australia were not that common in the early 2000’s compared to now but as investors and online traffic grew obviously the amount of new players entering the market increased quickly. Don’t get me wrong there were and still are a number of great SEO agencies down under but as is always the case it’s the odd rotten bad apple that gives the others a bad name however there might have been slightly one or two more rotten apples at the time trying to make a quick buck on certain companies lack of online marketing knowledge.

With the growth of Google now over the last 5-7 years the one good thing about Google’s dominance was that they always gave the user good experience and improved results. In my opinion this is what kept their competitors way behind. With their superior insights, rules started changing quickly around 2006/7 and broader factors such as content (and meta data) and improved user navigation started to become a greater factor for marketers. Links however were still the number one product been thrown around by search agencies. For me the watershed moment was when Google came out towards the end of 2009 and we were introduced to Mr Panda for the first time! This was really the first big shake up Google caused the SEO industry, and rightly so as the user was given better results in the search engines. Link farming, directory sites, websites with unrelated links and so on started disappearing from the index. The big winner was the user and indirectly Google and the big losers were the cowboys in the industry that were getting away with it for far too long.

I guess I don’t need to remind you what happened here on in especially with the latest lovable black and white animal still the talk of the town…

All I can say is I look forward to the next 10 years, the ride is going to be really exciting!

Retired Cowboy and Good Guy